Need for coordinated database for tracking fugitives

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems and the National Intelligence Grid

Mains level : Paper 2- Need for a coordinated database of fugitives

Context

India lacks a domestic tracking system for fugitives. That makes it easier for them to evade the criminal justice system.

Challenges at investigation and prosecution level

  • Central agencies have developed reasonable expertise in investigation and prosecution because they are focussed only on investigation and prosecution work.
  • On the other hand, State police forces (except specialised wings) are engaged in law-and-order work as well as investigations.
  • The bulk of the investigation and prosecution work happens at police stations in the States.
  • There is a tendency to close investigations once the accused have absconded.
  • Some police stations do initiate proceedings for attachment of property and declaration of the accused as proclaimed offenders, but the number of cases where coordinated efforts are made to pursue fugitives – domestically or internationally – are hardly documented.

No system for tracking criminals domestically

  • Through Interpol Notices and the sharing of immigration databases of different countries, there exists a system of tracking criminals worldwide.
  • However, there is no coordinated system or database for tracking criminals or wanted persons domestically in India.
  • In the absence of such a system, it is relatively easy for criminals from one police station/jurisdiction to melt into the population in any other area, almost undetected.

Way forward

  • The creation of a nationwide database of wanted persons, which could be accessible for police agencies, the public and others is needed.
  • A nation-wide system of ‘Wanted Persons Notices’, similar to Interpol Notices, is required, to help track fugitives domestically.
  • The Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems and the National Intelligence Grid are efforts in the right direction/
  • Countries like the U.S. have functional inter-State extradition and fugitive tracking systems.
  • India needs to set up such dedicated ‘fugitive tracking units’.
  • There needs to be enhanced integration between immigration agencies, State police agencies, Interpol-New Delhi, the External Affairs Ministry and Home Ministry and central investigation agencies.
  • Sharing India’s ‘wanted’ database or providing access to it to foreign embassies on a reciprocal basis or through treaties or arrangements would also be helpful.
  • Signing of more bilateral and multilateral conventions on criminal matters would help plug legal infirmities.
  • Signing bilateral agreements on cooperation in policing matters would also help.
  • All relevant legal processes and requirements should be incorporated into one consolidated law on international cooperation.
  • The entire gamut of activities pertaining to fugitives, from investigation to extradition, needs to be incorporated into a specialised set-up.

Conclusion

In the absence of a coordinated database, criminals can go undetected. What we need is a watertight system that would deter criminals from hoodwinking the law.


Back2Basics: Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems (CCTNS)

  • CCTNS aims at creating a comprehensive and integrated system for enhancing the efficiency and effective policing at all levels and especially at the Police Station level.
  • It aism at adoption of principles of e-Governance, and creation of a nationwide networked infrastructure for evolution of IT-enabled state of- the-art tracking system around “investigation of crime and detection of criminals” in real time.
  • It is is a critical requirement in the context of the present day internal security scenario.
  • The scope of CCTNS spans all 35 States and Union Territories and covers all Police Stations (15,000+ in number) and all Higher Police Offices (6,000+ in number) in the country.
  • The CCTNS project includes vertical connectivity of police units (linking police units at various levels within the States – police stations, district police offices, state headquarters, SCRB and other police formations – and States, through state headquarters and SCRB, to NCRB at GOI level) as well as horizontal connectivity, linking police functions at State and Central level to external entities.

National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID)

  • First conceptualised in 2009, NATGRID seeks to become the one-stop destination for security and intelligence agencies to access database related to immigration entry and exit, banking and telephone details of a suspect on a “secured platform”.
  • All State police are mandated to file First Information Reports (FIR) in the CCTNS.
  • It is only a repository and the data pertaining to FIRs of a particular police station are a State subject.
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